Obama warns: I’m acting alone on immigration

House Republican leadership abruptly postponed and then ultimately pulled a vote on its plan to deal with the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday, after a conservative revolt left leadership short of the votes needed to pass the bill.

Soon after House leaders pulled the bill, however, a Republican conference meeting was scheduled in an apparent attempt to revive the bill. Members were advised that additional votes were still possible. The original pulling of the bill served as a remarkable setback for House Speaker John Boehner and the incoming House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who had whipped support for the border bill.

House conservatives revolted against the Republican-led border plan, which provides about $659 million in emergency spending for the border crisis. The Republican dissent was led by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

In a statement announcing the cancellation of the border bill vote, House GOP leaders blamed Obama for not enforcing current laws. Now House Republicans may take one more stab at trying to pass a bill to address the border crisis. But their bill has been jacked so far to the right that Democrats won’t support it so Congress won’t address the crisis until September at the earliest.

The question now is how far this goes in clearing space for Obama to act alone on immigration, not just on the border crisis, but on easing deportations.
In a meeting with lawmakers, President Obama told Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, “that he agreed with Republicans on 80 percent of the elements of the border legislation but disagreed on an important 20 percent. Whether to offset the money and how to alter a 2008 law to allow American authorities to more quickly deport unaccompanied children.”

Meanwhile, they objected to Obama’s request for border funding because it spent too much on humanitarian relief for arriving migrants.

And this underscores a key fact about this whole debate. It is precisely because Republicans won’t move out of their comfort zone on immigration, where the only response to the immigration crisis they can entertain is further militarizing of the border and expedited/expanded deportations that Obama is now going to resort to more action on his own.

Listen to what this Texas Republican has to say about the House GOP caucus, “You can’t go home!” Representative Blake Farenthold shouted in an interview... He suggested such a move would send a terrible message to Obama: “You’re right, we’re a do-nothing Congress.”

The GOP leaders, Boehner, Scalise incoming House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers argued that Obama can move forward and improve the situation on the border. “There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries," they said.
Reacting to that statement, White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted the House GOP conference "once again proves why the President must act on his own to solve problems."

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January 19, 2018, 11:22 pm
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